These WEAVER ANTS Understand Sustainability

These WEAVER ANTS Understand Sustainability

The definition of the word sustainability
means “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level” or it can also mean “the
avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” It’s been a reoccuring and common theme these
days, in the advent of climate change, human over-population, the burning of the Amazon,
over-farming, and mass extinctions of flora and fauna worldwide. Perhaps we humans are still trying to figure
out how to exist sustainably, so that we don’t come face to face with own extinction. But I feel the answer to our global challenges
can be found all around us, if we only looked closer, and indeed, I’ve witnessed an innate
understanding of the principles of sustainability within a glass terrarium in a darkened room,
we on this channel call the Ant Room, our Antiverse. Meet the Emerald Empire, a colony and species
of ants that create nests out of leaves using the silk from their larvae. Over the past few months that I’ve had the
greatest honour of caring for them, I’ve realized that these ants are brilliant ecological masterminds,
that somehow manage to apply sustainable practices to stay alive, thriving, and prolific. From their food consumption, to how they keep
the plants they live on alive, all while minimizing their overall impact on their environment
and resources, believe me, guys, this episode will truly blow your mind! AC Family, gather round once again, and pay
close attention to these weaver ants, who, to my greatest surprise, hold the keys to
our own survival, here on the AntsCanada Ant Channel. Please SUSBCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
BELL ICON. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! Welcome everyone to Vortexia, the jungle canopy
kingdom contruct of the Emerald Empire, our booming colony of Asian Weaver ants, known
scientifically as Oecophylla smaragdina. If you’re new to the channel, these ants came
to us a couple months ago and have proven to be quite incredible to watch. You see, they’re not like your typical ants
that live in tunnels underground and create ant hills. No, instead, these ants are arboreal, meaning
they live in trees and build their nests from leaves, using their powerful legs and jaws
to cooperatively pull leaf edges together, while using their silk-producing larvae like
glue-bottles to fuse the leaves in place. By the end of this video, you’ll not only
be amazed at what they’re making here, but also at how complex of an engineering project,
this alternative ant lifestyle in the trees actually is! Keep on watching until the end. So to better appreciate how crazy awesome
these ants are, let’s quickly rewind to what Vortexia looked like where we left off last. The Emerald Empire had created three leaf
nests, two on this umbrella plant, and one large one on this money tree. These three nests were enough to provide the
fairly large weaver ant colony housing for a good several weeks, but since then, check
out what the weaver ant territories look like now! First, the two leaf nests in the umbrella
plant have long wilted and been abandoned by the Emerald Empire. You see, when weaver ants create leaf nests,
the leaves provide the ants living within the enclosed leaf spaces the humidity the
ants’ babies need for survival, through transpiration. Basically, plant leaves naturally release
water vapour from small pores, and this water vapour makes every weaver ant leaf nest a
perfectly humidified chamber for the ants and young. But there’s a catch, because eventually the
leaves used to make these leaf nests wither and die, either from lack of sunlight or from
their intense bending. But the fact that the weaver ants have totally
decided to leave the umbrella plant alone, having built no more nests in its branches,
first got me thinking that this might actually be a strategic move by the weaver ants, and
why I think they’ve done this will truly blow your mind, but I’ll get more into that later. For now, let’s move along to the money tree. Here is what the money tree leaf nest from
their last video looked like before, and here is what it looks like now. It too has long wilted, and the weaver ants
had to expand eastward on the tree to this area, then eastward further to this area,
and eventually also creating a leaf nest down here. Now over time, the leaves of these areas have
also begun to wilt, so this week, the weaver ants have begun constructing two more giant
leaf nests here and here! Now, AC Family, this is where things get pretty
mind-blowing! There’s something very intricate and astonishingly
complex going on here that I can’t wait to share with you. So these new large leaves that the weaver
ants are using to nest build now, only grew within the past month or so. As the new branches were growing in, I was
wondering when the weaver ants would start nest building again, as I saw their current
leaf nests starting to wilt, and I knew the population was indeed growing in size, simply
due to the amount of food the colony was consuming. They were now eating three times as much compared
to when I first got them months ago. Over the past month, this money tree simply
continued to explode in folliage and it was only last night, that the Emerald Empire finally
decided it was time to expand and build more leaf nests. To my delight the Emerald Empire began building
two large leaf nests very close to the glass, which allowed us to get an intimate peek at
their building process. Have a look! The workers were working hard and fastiduously. This was no small scale operation! This would require a great deal of coordination,
energy, and cooperation in order to pull off. Some ants acted as brace ants, using their
powerful jaws and legs to pull the edges of leaves together. You can see these brace ants here. Some weaver ants were the gluers, holding
the larvae like glue-bottles, touching the mouth tips of the larvae onto the surfaces
they wanted the silk to stick. Once a thick wall of this silk was weaved,
the brace ants could let go, revealing an effective, water-proof and opaque silvery
wall. Other ants acted as security guards, either
patrolling the area or standing still on guard, on a constant the look out for tresspassers
or predators wanting to eat them or intrude on their work site. These guard ants would have no hestitations
to attack with their sharp mandibles and formic acid sprays from their gasters. Other ants acted as brood transporters, carrying
the eggs, larvae, and pupae from the old nest locations to the new nests, as they became
more and more homey and ready to accomodate. Now AC Family, here’s where things get pretty
amazing! I began to think about the fact that several
things needed to be taken into consideration for all of this to really work, “this” being
the construction of the new nests, and also this periodic bouncing of leaf locations on
the tree of the weaver ant lifestyle. Upon further thought, I realized the ants
couldn’t possibly just eat, grow, and leaf nest build mindlessly, because that would
surely lead to their demise. Think about it, let’s look at eating. The Emerald Empire had a very good appetite,
but I did notice there were days they were not as hungry or interested in food as others,
in fact, their voraciousness kinda came and went in seasons, especially when it came to
eating insects. There were days, the weaver ants never touched
the mealworms I gave them. Here’s what I suspected was actually happening. Are you ready for this, AC Family? I believe the weaver ants were managing their
food intake, in order to perfectly time both their population growth and their production
of young. Managing food intake and futhermore the colony’s
growth was essential in order to perfectly time when the necessary leaves were available
on the money tree plant. But it wasn’t enough to wait until the first
available leaves had grown into place. The weaver ants had to wait until the tree
had grown enough leaves to not just house the growing colony, but also have available
leaves to keep the entire plant alive! Their current nests were wilting, and building
new nests at the first given chance upon the appearance of new stems and leaves would have
spelled certain death of the plant, and therefor for the colony. So you see, guys, there needed to be a vital
coordination of timing here. Logically, the Emerald Empire had to reach
a size at just the right time, when a sustainable amount of leaves were available to house them
and keep the plant alive, and not only that! When the time came that there were enough
leaves to start nest building, the colony also had to have pre-amassed enough larvae
at the same time, in order to provide the silk needed to actually build the leaf nests. This means then that the Emerald Empire had
to manage their food intake, and limit growth rate at first, until the tree grew bigger,
and exactly a week or two before the intended nest-building date, the ants needed to switch
and eat as much as possible, especially protein, in order to provide the
queen the nourishment she needed to lay a surplus of eggs within a short time frame,
so there could be extra larvae force for leaf gluing at moving time. It’s staggering to think, that the Emerald
Empire was actually showing signs of understanding and applying principles of sustainability. The ants continued to work through the night. It was clear, the Emerald Empire was most
productive and comfortable to emerge at night. I loved watching the ants gathering at the
site and working. I also thoroughly appreciated that this time
the Emerald Empire was building their nests so close to the glass! It allowed us to capture some incredible 4K
footage. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did! It was almost hypnotic watching workers carrying
the young into the new leaf nests. Here is a worker carrying eggs! Remember the time when we questioned if this
collected colony had a queen, because we spotted a dead queen when they were first
moved in? Well, we know our answer now! Here is a worker carrying a larva to the site. Gluer ants weaved their silken walls to a
rhythm only they knew. Have a look at the ants constructing their
silk walls in the dark. It’s just a beautiful process to witness. Brace ants stood still and reliably strong,
holding the leaves in place. As we saw in previous videos, I spotted the
ants using silk ripped off from old nests to incorporate into their new nest structures,
clear evidence that the Emerald Empire were avid believers of recycling and reusing. They were even collecting debris to incorporate
into their walls. I don’t know about you, but I could watch
these ants for hours and hours, gradually building what would be a magnificent construct
of nature. By morning, this is what the Emerald Empire’s
new leaf nests looked like! The leaf nests were close to complete, and
it provided the Emerald Empire some new and valuable living space for their growing colony! They still had some viable living space left
in their old nest locations, while some of the leaves were still green and functioning. I wondered if the queen or queens had moved
into the new nests or were stubborn and stayed put in one of the old nests. But the beautiful process of nest construction
and planning that we discovered here in this video, is evidence that sustainability is
possible, even for humble creatures like ants living in a contained biospace. Now, about the umbrella plant that the ants
have totally disregarded and abandoned, I don’t know if it’s because the ants prefer
life in the money tree plant, or if something more calculative was at play here, but if
you ask me, I suspect that the weaver ants have collectively decided to save this umbrella
plant for future use, once the day comes that the money tree plant were to die. Could the ants understand that the money tree
also has a limited bandwidth, that one day, the money tree won’t be able to grow any more
branches due to the limited space within the terrarium. Perhaps they know the money tree will eventually
die out in Vortexia, and could be allowing the umbrella plant to grow undisturbed to
protect future real estate. It seems the umbrella plant is already growing
a totally new trunk towards the bottom there. This trunk will eventually grow upwards birthing
new folliage. Could the Emerald Empire be planning and timing
this growth to correspond with the time they predict the money tree will die or no longer
be ideal for nest building? Will the ants choose one day to inhabit the
umbrella plant in order to give the money tree time to regenerate from all the nest
building encumbering its growth. What do you guys think? Do feel the ants are just surviving all these
changes by fluke, or could they be carefully planning in order to live sustainably long-term? Let me know what you guys think in the comments
section. To be honest, though it’s all technically
speculation, I personally wouldn’t put it past them. There is certainly an intelligence at work
here, and after keeping ants for decades, I am a firm believer that ants are much more
intelligent than we give them credit for. There’s a reason they’ve managed to survive
for millions of years before we humans ever appeared on the planet. They lived sustainably, and their habits allowed
them to withstand the test of time. It made me wonder if we humans will ever find
that balance, that perfect equillibrium and lifestyle that will allow us to coexist with all life on the planet for
millions of years to come. Perhaps we need to look no further than our
evolutionary elders, the ants, who figuratively and literally weave
sustainability into their very fabric. Thank you for watching. It’s ant love forever. AC Family, did you enjoy today’s episode? Aren’t these weaver ants incredible? Next week, I have a special surprise for the
Emerald Empire, as it will be Part 2 to this episode and will also be a collab video with
a very popular youtube channel that I’m certain many of you already watch and follow! I’m taking guesses! So, guys, smash that SUBSCRIBE button and
BELL ICON for notifications now, so you don’t miss out on next week’s epic collab video! And don’t forget to hit the LIKE button every
single time, including now! It would really help a lot! If you’re new to the channel, and want to
catch up on all your AntsCanada Lore, feel free to binge watch this complete story line
playlist here, which traces the origins of all the ant colonies of the ant room, so you
can follow their stories and better appreciate how these ant kingdoms came to be, and why
we love them so much! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you’d like to see extended play footage of the weaver ants building their
leaf nests all to the sounds of relaxing music. We also leave a clue as to who I’m collabbing
with next week! So go check out that hidden video! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week we asked: What is your favourite thing
about our new Surinam horned frog? Congratulations to Madalina Kulcsar who correctly
answered: My favourite thing about this frog is that
it partially buries it’s body and just stares at everything going on. Congratulations, Madalina, you just won a
free e-book handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: What evidence did we see in today’s video
that proves there indeed is a living queen in the Emerald Empire? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and
SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

100 thoughts on “These WEAVER ANTS Understand Sustainability”

  1. AC Family, don't you find ant intelligence just mind-blowing?! This episode was incredibly hard to make, but it was all worth it. Hope you guys remember to hit LIKE, SHARE this with all your friends, leave me a COMMENT, and of course SUBSCRIBE (hit the BELL to join the Notifications Squad) to join our growing, nature-loving AC Family! Ant love forever!

  2. โœ๏ธ The only way to go to heaven is to trust in Jesus and repent (turn away from sins) and ask for forgiveness for your sins. Good deeds will not get you into heaven, put your trust in the savior Jesus Christ our lord and you WILL be saved โœ๏ธ

  3. Give them a few hundred more years… I bet they'll be using their larva to build webs like spiders!

  4. Something totally different, I just learned that ants cannot fall to their death by impact… ๐Ÿ™‚ The air resistance when they fall from a tree or so limit their falling speed to <5Km/h which they will survive the fall. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love ants.

  5. Could you do manica rudica ant colony and after a year do a deathmatch between the red knot ants (manica rudica) and the fire nation

  6. ant colonies are probably collectively as intelligent as dogs if not humans, so conservation and husbandry of resources seems like a realistic expectation of a thing ants would be able to understand

  7. It's probably the plants giving off stress volatiles and the ants are just switching based on that chemical cue, because normally other predatory insects will respond and come looking for a meal at the stressed plant.

  8. Thanks for the update on the Emerald Empire. They have become my favorite colony in the Anteverse. I agree that they are smart enough to understand the life cycle of the two trees and are optimizing to the best of their ability. I just hope that there is enough time for them to successfully bounce back and forth between leaf growths.

  9. As a huge longtime viewer, someone whoโ€™s not missed one of your videos in many many years, I want to say, this was my absolute favorite episode. I will surly watch this over and over and over and over again, and this time going to watch the extended footage and Iโ€™ve never done that before! Thank you! As someone who loves this planet and am worried about how humans are hurting it makes me really warm inside to hear you with such a huge following speaking the truth and asking the right questions. I really cannot thank you enough, I studied animal science and have a passion for conservation bio, I did a study abroad with conservation bio in Panama and I understand the importance of balance and harmony and we have a long way to go if we want to continue to be living here on this planet.

  10. I just love your videos they are so informative
    your videos helped me to overcome the fear of insects and made me more curious about them.
    Please do make a video on Bullet ants of South America
    Love from India

  11. โ˜… "Weaved their silken walls to a rhythm only they knew" That's really beautiful. You are a poet, raconteur and an educator. Thank you for all you do to increase awareness and fascination with ants around the world.

  12. Hello! I'm having a really hard time identifying an insect I found. I believe it to be an ant queen of sorts, it doesn't meet most identifying guides, but does show up when you google "ant queen" under google images. If not this channel, I'm hoping someone with some expertise could help me out. I've been searching online all day, and though some images matching the insect come up, none come with the species name, and doesn't show up under my general ant species searches. Someone please help me! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Dude… I think wild ants KNOW YOU! I've been watching these amazing videos outside at night before bed. The last 3 nights, a steady stream of ants have been crawling up my chair and walking across my phone to watch ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I CAN'T STOP THEM ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  14. Antscanada… Not cool ….
    In order to make a story you started imagining and guessing things and prioritize them upto the point that they're feature in title. That's clickbaiting

  15. Humans show innates instincts for sustainablility too. It's just that we've changed our environment so much that they don't really work very well any more. The demographic transition that caused the population boom is a good example. Improved medicine and sanition caused a massive drop in infant mortality to almost zero but we kept the same birth rate. However this dropped over the next couple generations to about where the survival rate was before. In fact birth rate is even dropping lower than replacement in some of the most densly populated countries now.

  16. I have an question what should I buy for lasius flavus besides the stuff from Antscanada need information please

  17. They can't think. That would require abstraction, confrontation of ideas, perception of the self… But i admit i'm astonished about how intelligent their work is. Maybe is some sort of unconscious intelligence, Think to ant as neurons, with some triggers from the outside they can start a reaction and this reaction can multiply or die out based on the collective feedback. This would create unconscious "protocols" they carry through via instinct, measuring their success with their survivability. This protocols could become complex as needed an scale up in mindblowing things like farming, architecture and livestocking.

  18. There a possibility that the Emerald Empire still has a living queen bcuz it can sustain life with or without a queen yet the queen just doesnt show up due to having sustainability. The queen uses itโ€™s old nest as some sort of temple and stays there and only moves out when the nest is fully disposed.

    I cant wait until scientists laugh about what i just said!

  19. I just wanted to let you know, that Iโ€™m in an Entomology group on Facebook, and we all LOVE your channel ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

  20. How do you get all these different ant species. Are there laws about bringing new species into the Philippines. Just curious. Great videos btw.

  21. I love how in almost every video he says โ€œthis will blow your mindโ€ ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿฅฐ I love this channel!!

  22. Hey there AC family. Can someone recomend a good way to deal with murky water? i just started my very own formicarium/aquarium and i added my water, bacteria, de-clorinator, 1 plant some roots 2 rocks etc. After a lot of tinckering the water has become very murky…. and after 3 hours of my filter runing constantly it's just as murky…. i washed everything before putting it in, although there might ave been some dirt on the rockd (inside crevaces). So… any sugestions?

  23. I found an ant queen recently, though i dont want it captive. I want her to live her life to the fullest

  24. To be honest I really hope your next videos would be about the Marauder ants or the blue tarantula itโ€™s been a month since youโ€™ve uploaded about the Marauder ants I really wanna see how they are doing and I also really wanna see how the goddess is doing especially after that part of her exoskeleton got stuck on her I really felt bad for her I just really wanna know how they are doing

  25. Hi fellow Ants enthusiasts, I now have a time to start my own Ant colony but currently doesnt have my queen. I have been watching ants canada for a long time now trying to learn how to catch a queen but i cant seem to catch one. I missed 2 nuptial flights season and hope you guys can help me where can I buy, get or acquite my own queen. I hope someone can answer. Thank you guys!

  26. I started watching your termites (sad) and the second video that you posted I saw a pherow(don't know how to spell) ant up close look very carefully

  27. Interesting hypothesis. Do you think this is true considering they evolved in the wild with presumably no shortage of plants? Is this a larger part of the grand scheme which provides symbiosis so that no one species completely obliterates another? If that is true, what went wrong with human evolution?

  28. I am having a problem with my queen ant she is camponotus. She is on her back kind flailing around been like this for almost a week… colony size is 12 ants they are in the antscanada formicarium for camponotus what is wrong with her? What can I do?

  29. Thanks for that amazing intro! I appreciate the serious topic instead of the stupid clickbaity mind-blowing stuff. You don't need to drag us into the video, we'll all watch the whole thing anyway. Love you Mikey!

  30. It looks like in this terrarium you'll have to take as much care of the vegetation as you do with the ants living in it. You cannot afford to be careless and let the plants wilt as you did with other terrariums.
    From a the looks of it from some shots, the terrarium seems to be located near a window, but I wonder if that much sunlight is enough for the plants to thrive with. Have you considered putting grow LED lights to further boost their metabolism? They produce lots of heat, but since this is a tropical enclosure, it should be fine.

  31. Ants are more efficient than us in every way. 50 million years of evolution gives them the advantage. Great stuff as usual.

  32. Much appreciated, but you wouldn't have to ask us to stay until the end if you actually started the content before 3:20 ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Climate change๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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